The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved a $2 billion budget for the 2018-2019 school year.
The budget includes $17 million in increases for special education, dyslexia programs, and Achieve 180, the research-based program that will continue next school year to support underserved and underperforming schools. The budget also includes a performance review by the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB).
The board also voted to reduce the proposed performance review allotment from $2.5 million to $1 million, with the difference of $1.5 million being transferred immediately to the general fund reserve for operations. The total cost of the performance review to be conducted by the LBB has not yet been determined. The LBB is expected to begin working on the performance review in fall 2018 so that findings may be used by the board in the decision-making process during the next budget cycle.
As other large school districts in Texas, HISD continues to face looming budget shortfalls in the coming years due to inadequate state funding and increasing recapture payments. HISD has been designated by the state as a property-wealthy school district under the state’s school finance system, despite the fact that almost 80 percent of students are considered low-income.
Recapture requires districts that exceed a certain per-student property wealth level to send local tax dollars to the state. The 2018-19 budget has a $272.5 million recapture payment budgeted.
Houston Independent School District students showed strong gains that exceeded those made by the state in third- through eighth-grade reading and math, and on end-of-course (EOC) assessments in English I and Algebra I, according to preliminary 2018 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores.
“This year, our students made significant progress on the state-mandated STAAR tests,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We are excited about what these preliminary results mean for our schools labeled by the state as Improvement Required and our district’s accountability ratings. HISD is shifting course and turning schools around. We know that it is critical that we continue our commitment to strengthening the supports in place to further advance our progress in student achievement.”
Overall, the spring administration of the 2018 STAAR grades 3-8 assessment results indicate the district held steady or showed increases in the percentage of students meeting the Approaches Grade Level standard in reading, math, science, and social studies. Continue reading →
Music echoed throughout the Lawson Middle School gym as community members gathered with former students and staff to catch up with old friends, flip through old yearbooks, and dance the afternoon away.
Led by current students and staff, the stroll down memory lane was part of a “Walk to Remember” — an event held to let stakeholders bid their final farewells to the building before it is demolished later this summer.
“It’s important to preserve the memories,” Lawson Principal Kasey Bailey said. “There’s a lot of history with this school, but we’re very excited to move into the new building.”
Equipped with planters, soil, and seeds, HISD’s Nutrition Services workers had all hands-on deck as they taught nearly 9,000 elementary and middle school students various ways to dig into good nutrition.
The day’s festivities were a part of Camp Lit, a two-day festival designed to promote literacy throughout the district. Gathered in the parking lot of Delmar Fieldhouse, students participated in outdoor tailgate-themed literacy games hosted by various district departments, sponsors, and partners. Continue reading →
The Houston Independent School District welcomed thousands of students to summer school, themed “Camp Lit” for literacy, on Wednesday and Thursday at Delmar Fieldhouse with a series of pep rallies and tailgates.
The summer kickoff for elementary students was held on Wednesday, and middle school students celebrated on Thursday.
“This is the brainchild of our interim superintendent. The idea is to continue our focus on literacy but in a way that is exciting and engaging,” Officer for Special Populations Courtney Busby said. “We want our students to know that meeting their needs in the summer is critical for their overall success. What better way to do that than with a celebration where all kids will leave with books to add to their personal libraries.” Continue reading →
Number of schools given Gold Ribbon status nearly doubles to 21
Children at Risk announced its annual list of the top schools in the greater Houston area, and for the eighth consecutive year, HISD’s DeBakey High School for Health Professions was listed as number one among high schools in the area and the state.
Five other HISD high schools were included in the top 10: Eastwood Academy (#2), Carnegie VanguardHigh School (#3), East Early College High School (#6), Sharpstown International School (#8), and Challenge Early College High School (#10).
Five HISD middle schools also were recognized as top 10 performers: T.H. Rogers School (#1), Project Chrysalis Middle School (#4), Lanier Middle School (#6), Energized for STEM Academy Southwest MS (#6), Mandarin Immersion MagnetSchool (#9). On the elementary school list, four HISD schools were ranked in the top 10: T.H. Rogers School (#1), Horn Elementary School (#4), River Oaks Elementary School (#5), and West University Elementary School (#6). Continue reading →
The Houston Independent School District on Thursday announced the creation of new programs to expand college and career readiness opportunities for students across the district: Launch HISD and Project Explore.
The new programs are under the newly established Office of Strategy and Innovation led by EMERGE founder Rick Cruz.
Launch HISD is a comprehensive college and career readiness and advising program. The program will serve students at every middle and high school campus in the district, expanding advising and college and career exploration for larger groups of students. The Launch HISD curriculum will incorporate college visits and career exploration, and will include a capstone college or career readiness project that every middle school participant will have to complete to develop their personalized graduation plan.
School is one of 63 nationwide to receive designation
Project Chrysalis Middle School has been recognized as a National Title I Distinguished School, an award that honors schools for their positive educational advances. The school is one of two in the state of Texas and one of only 63 nationwide to receive the designation.
The Project Chrysalis was selected by the Texas Education Agency to represent Texas as one of the highest-rated Title I Distinguished Schools based on its success in closing the achievement gap between student groups. Located near the city’s East End, the school serves nearly 300 students. Continue reading →
HISD will not submit any plans to the Texas Education Agency related to SB 1882
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Tuesday adjourned without approving a contract to partner with the governing board of Energized for STEM Academy as part of Senate Bill 1882. The district will no longer pursue this proposal, nor will the district submit plans for partnerships to the TEA.
The proposal was intended to give HISD a two–year pause on accountability from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and prevent sanctions from the state related to House Bill 1842.
HISD will continue to operate and manage the 10 campuses that have been in Improvement Required (IR) status with the state for four years or more. Those campuses are: Blackshear, Dogan, Highland Heights, Mading, and Wesley elementary schools, Henry Middle School, Woodson PK-8, and Kashmere, Wheatley, and Worthing high schools. The district’s goal is to help these 10 schools exit IR and continue to meet yearly standards.
“We are not bringing another partnership proposal to the Board, nor will there be another meeting to consider partnerships for the 10 schools,” said Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “Instead, we will continue to reinforce our commitment to helping students, staff, and families of our Achieve 180 schools continue the hard work they’ve done this year to transform their campuses and increase student achievement.”
HISD will make the necessary changes to the Achieve 180 framework to ensure the district provides them with the additional resources and supports they need to be successful. District administration will be holding meetings with staff and parents at these 10 schools to discuss Achieve 180 plans for their campuses in the 2018-2019 school year. Staff will remain in place at these 10 campuses unless a position is closed as part of the reduction in force HISD is experiencing across the district due to the $115 million budget shortfall.
Winners will be recognized on May 18 at the Educators of the Year banquet
In recognition of teaching excellence across the district, HISD will officially crown its principals and teachers at the “royal wedding-themed” Educators of the Year banquet on Friday, May 18, at the Hilton Americas Hotel.
Fourteen finalists have been named for the Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the year. The two winners, who will go on to represent the district in Region 4, will be announced during the Educators of the Year banquet on Friday, May 18. The 14 finalists were selected from all 287 campuses based on performance data and other criteria. Continue reading →